Colombia’s top rebel leader killed in military operation

2011-11-05 07:28

Colombia’s top rebel commander was killed in military operations in the southern region, sources in the Defence Ministry confirmed.

Guillermo Leon Saenz, head of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, was reportedly killed during government air strikes on guerrilla positions in Cauca province.

Local media said the body of Saenz, aka “Alfonso Cano”, was found alongside his partner whose nom de guerre was “Patricia”.

El Tiempo newspaper’s online edition quoted military sources saying the rebel leader was killed in an air strike near the village of Chirriadero in Miranda municipality.

Radio Caracol said the body was being taken to the provincial capital Popayan. Government and military officials were expected to make a public announcement today.

The 62-year-old Saenz was the latest leader of Colombia’s largest and oldest guerrilla front to die or be killed in the past three years.

He rose to the top of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia after founder Manuel Marulanda died in 2008. Raul Reyes, the second in command, was killed that same year during a cross-border raid on his camp in Ecuador.

Jorge “Mono Jojoy” Briceno, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia’s military chief, was killed by troops in 2010.

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